People's History of the United Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

If any of them was found without a token he was either murdered or had his hands severed to die more slowly in front of his community to serve as a warning against defying Columbus's orders.

Perhaps the greatest irony in these atrocities is that the Spaniards (and the other European explorers) all sailed flying the flags of Christianity and that they referred to themselves as "civilized" and the native peoples as "savages." Meanwhile, it was the native "savages" who had lived in peace for thousands of years and it was the Spaniards whose homeland was, at the very time of their explorations, fully engaged in torturing and killing some of their own population in connection with the infamous Spanish Inquisition and the reign of the "civilized" religious authorities who oversaw it. The Arawak Indians, who had never heard of Christianity or of Christ's teachings, had developed a society in which greed, and even proprietary ownership of any kind was unknown, freely sharing or giving away anything in their possession to anyone who asked, including complete strangers arriving on ships from foreign lands.

In less than two decades since their arrival on the islands, Columbus's "civilized" Christians succeeded in murdering nine tenths of a peaceful population of "savages" amounting to the deaths of approximately 3 million people. The exact number is in dispute among contemporary historians and may be as low as 1 million or as high as 8 million. Either way, the manner in which Columbus and other European explorers treated the native peoples they encounters either rivals or actually substantially exceeds the volumes of the atrocities and "crimes against humanity" committed by those contemporary historical figures that we all…

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